March 31, 2011 (AFP) – Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has urged the national team to win the World Cup final as a fitting finale to the brilliant career of spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan. Rajapakse, who will fly to Mumbai to watch Saturday’s match against India, congratulated the side on making it through to the last game and said he hoped the trophy that Sri Lanka won in 1996 would soon return to Colombo.
“The president wants us to win the World Cup as a tribute to Murali who retires from international cricket after this tournament,” his spokesman Bandula Jayasekera told AFP.
Muralitharan, who played in the 1996 team, took his 534th one-day international wicket off his last ball on home soil as New Zealand were defeated in the semi-final in Colombo on Tuesday. India beat Pakistan by 29 runs on Wednesday to set up a mouth-watering final clash against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.